Not All Olive Oil is the Same

Olive oil contains monounsaturated fatty acids, commonly referred to as Omega 9, the same oil as found in avocado, macadamia, and pecan oils. Omega 9 fatty acids are not essential or required for a healthy body. If you buy cheap or inferior olive oil it is no different than the other fore mentioned oils.  

Based on research by Dr. Mary Flynn, PHD, RD, Associate Professor at Boston University, olive oil is a very powerful medicine which may prevent and treat most major diseases now being treated with drugs. In Mediterranean countries where olive oil is consumed liberally, there is much less heart disease, strokes, high blood pressure, dementia, arthritis, oxidative stress, and inflammation. The people in these countries, on average, consume 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil per day, often directly off the spoon or by a shot glass of oil. Most Americans consume little or no olive oil at all. The people of the Mediterranean countries consume, on average, 20 liters of olive oil per year. In America, the average is less than 1 liter per year.

But, not just any olive oil will do. Superior, extra virgin olive oil, having a very high content of polyphenols, has a remarkable medicinal affect. Polyphenols found in olive oil will leave a peppery or spicy aftertaste in the back of your throat. A buttery tasting olive oil, with a very low level of polyphenols, in my opinion, does not have a medicinal effect. There are 8,000 polyphenols that are major components found in many whole, natural foods often not consumed in the American diet.

The two most powerful medicinal foods consumed in the Mediterranean diet are #1. Olive Oil and #2. Red Wine.

Mary Flynn has been researching olive oil for over 30 years.  I guess you could call her an expert in the nutritional value of olive oil and this is what she has to say;  “Published studies show that no other food comes close to Extra Virgin Olive Oil for the prevention and treatment of chronic disease.” Associate Professor Mary Flynn, Brown University. 

What Makes Extra Virgin Olive Oil So Healthy? – The biggest thing that makes extra virgin olive oil so healthy is its unique, disease-fighting component, polyphenols. Polyphenols are a potent antioxidant; the amount of polyphenols found in extra virgin olive oil is truly amazing!

The Health Benefits Of Extra Virgin Olive Oil – There are a number of different types of polyphenols in extra virgin olive oil, including oleuropein, tyrosol, hydroxytyrosol, oleocanthal, and oleacein.  Each are considered extremely strong antioxidants, and are linked to a number of different health benefits, including: 

·         Maintenance of normal blood pressure 

·         Keeping the upper respiratory tract healthy 

·         Protecting proteins in the brain that are involved in memory, learning, and thinking 

·         Helping to keep blood sugar under control 

·         Treating the symptoms of and/or preventing type 2 diabetes 

·         Protecting blood lipids from oxidative damage 

·         Acting as an anti-inflammatory

Extra Virgin Olive Oil May Help Protect Against COVID – As reported in the Olive Oil Times , extra virgin olive oil has been shown to reduce levels of cytokine in the body, which in turn can reduce both the symptoms associated with COVID-19 and their severity.

About Hydroxytyrosol 

Sarah Gray 

Hydroxytyrosol is a powerful polyphenol which occurs naturally in the olive fruit, pulp, leaves and mill waste waters.1,2  Chemically, hydroxytyrosol is described as 4-(2-hydroxyethyl)-1,2-benzendiol, with an empirical formula 8H10O3.2  Hydroxytyrosol is a well-known minor component found in Extra Virgin Olive Oil, which is derived from hydrolysis of the polyphenol oleuropein during olive maturation and olive oil storage.1,2  The compound plays an important role (amongst other minor components) in the complex and varied flavor of olives and olive oil.1  It is also a vital component which largely adds to the stability of olive oil.2  Hydroxytyrosol is hydrophilic, and absorbed in a dose-dependent manner in humans, with absorption occurring in the small intestine and colon.1  Uniquely, hydroxytyrosol is the only polyphenol which is able to cross the blood brain barrier, which allows it to have a significant action to scavenge free radicals in the nervous system.3

Health Benefits 

Hydroxytyrosol has a potent antioxidant activity – it has one of the highest known ORAC (oxygen radical absorbance capacity) results known for a natural antioxidant. (ORAC is a method used to determine the antioxidant capacity of a food or chemical substance).2 

There is also evidence related to the health benefits of hydroxytyrosol in the following areas: 

Anticancer activity 

Hydroxytyrosol has the capacity to inhibit proliferation and promote apoptosis of several tumour cells.1  Therefore, it has been suggested that hydroxytyrosol may have anticancer effects.2  The exact mechanism of these effects is not well defined, and research continues in this space. 

Anti-inflammatory activity  

Research has shown that hydroxytyrosol can reduce the production of cytokine tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF alpha) in animal models of inflammation.2  Animal based research has also shown that hydroxytyrosol may be able to reduce acute inflammation and associated pain.1 

Antimicrobial activity  

In vitro experiments have shown that hydroxytyrosol has antimicrobial properties against infectious respiratory and gastrointestinal pathogens.1  It is also known that hydroxytyrosol has activity against gram positive and gram-negative bacteria.2  In general, phenolic compounds have been reported to have wide antimicrobial activity, such as antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal effects.2  The exact mechanism by which hydroxytyrosol exerts its antimicrobial action is not well known.2 

Antithrombotic activity  

A human study showed that hydroxytyrosol was able to lower serum thromboxane B2 levels, leading to an anti-aggregatory platelet effect.2  Other research supports this finding, showing that hydroxytyrosol significantly reduces platelet aggregation.1 

Antiatherogenic capacity and cardioprotective effect  

It is known that hydroxytyrosol is a powerful scavenger of free radicals which allows for the reduction in oxidation of low-density-lipoproteins (LDL), potentially reducing the risk of atherosclerosis.1,2 

Retino-protective activity  

Hydroxytyrosol may play a role in reducing the risk of age-related macular degeneration, however further research is required in this area to determine the exact mechanism and importance of this preliminary research finding.2 

Skin related effects  

It is believed that oxidative stress plays a major role in UVA-induced protein damage to the skin.4  Preliminary research shows that hydroxytyrosol can work to prevent such UVA damage in melanoma cells.4

The Olive Wellness Institute is a science repository on the nutrition, health and wellness benefits of olives and olive products, which is
all subject to extensive peer review.